New Delhi, November 21
Israel today claimed that Hamas, facing the heat of ongoing operations, was desperate for a temporary ceasefire, but made it clear that any truce was possible only if the 240-odd hostages were freed.
India wants 3-point resolution adopted
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Addressing journalists across Asia in an online event organised by the Israel Asia Centre in Jerusalem, Ambassador Mark Regev, who is senior adviser to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, said among the hostages were a group of elderly aged 75 plus and 32 children, including a 10-month-old. “What sort of barbarians would kidnap babies and children?” he said, calling Hamas members “terrorists”.
Regev said Israel was negotiating through third parties for the release of hostages, held captive somewhere within the Gaza Strip. He also admitted to the failure of Israel’s intelligence apparatus in not predicting the Hamas attack on October 7. “We were not expecting the attack... brutal violence happened... 1,200 were murdered. We weren’t prepared for it,” he said. The Ambassador said Israel would have to address questions on how terrorists crossed the frontier that was fenced with 20 feet high steel mesh.
Regev recollected how a previous intelligence failure of this magnitude led to the Yom Kippur War in 1973. “We then had public inquiry led by a Supreme Court judge and it led to the resignation of then PM Golda Meir,” he said. On the future of Gaza, the Ambassador said Israel did not seek to reoccupy the Strip as it only wanted to carry out demilitarisation and de-radicalisation.
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